Press Statement on U.S.-Japan Beef Trade Talks

December 17, 2004

A U.S. delegation is currently in Tokyo for the purpose of continuing discussions on resuming beef trade. Provided below is supplemental information regarding the meetings being held today.

On October 23 of this year, the governments of the United States and Japan issued a joint press statement (online here) regarding the resumption of two-way trade in beef and beef products. In that joint statement, both governments expressed their view that two-way trade would be resumed subject to each country's respective domestic approval process, based on science.

As the joint press statement noted, both countries will continue to consult on carcass grading and quality attributes with a view to verifying physiological age to evaluate carcasses to be 20 months of age or younger. As part of this review, the U.S. Department Agriculture agreed to conduct a special study in which cattle of known ages are slaughtered and evaluated for physiological maturity. This study was designed and data collected based on internationally recognized statistical and sampling methods. Information on the study design and preliminary data was shared as expeditiously as possible with the Japanese expert panel charged with evaluating this study. Today this study was presented to the panel by a team of U.S. specialists.